When Death is Not Enough
Raving, raging, mad man, killer on the loose. How will it all end? Look. One by one the Trojans are falling. By gods, he’s missed the roar of war. Nothing beats the heat of twisting, turning knives in battle, spreading Trojan dead across the plain, all joy in life stubbed out between his hands, beneath his feet and so it was with Hector. The golden scales of Zeus have set his fate. The Trojan prince is wearing his mistake, for no one knows an armour like its owner, and Achilles sees a space to aim, deep within the neck, where Hector’s flesh opens in a smile. He hits the dust, ash borne spear jutting from his throat, vibrating like a harp string, to and fro, ever s l o w e r s l o w e r ‘till it stops. The prince is dead.
Red, red, helmet red. Breastplate spattered. Arms. Legs. Badged with Hector’s blood, death is not enough. Achilles cannot stop. Rage unfettered, grief unbound, he strips the body, stabs its heels,
threading thongs through jagged weals, ties them to his chariot and he’s off, bouncing bloodied Hector in the sandy ruts behind. Once, twice, thrice around the walls of Troy where queen and daughters weep, and the king takes to his bed.
At night, Apollo slips inside the palisade, where Hector lies alone, a mesh of flesh and bone, heaped into a corner. Breathing godly love, he heals the body, revealing all its beauty, wipes it clean. At dawn Achilles rages at the pale white skin. Driving in his sword, he carves the name Α χ ι λ λ ε υ ς across Prince Hector’s chest. As if the Trojans could forget! Then harnessing his horses, he is off. Three, four, five times and more, dragging Hector’s body round the city walls. Say it again. How will it end?
Sue Watling is a poet and writer living north of the River Humber in the UK, where she has an allotment and keeps bees. Sue has had work accepted by The Adriatic, Seaborne Magazine, Tide Rises, Amethyst Review, DawnTreader, Saravasti, Spelt Magazine Advent Calendar, Green Ink Poetry, ASP Literary Journal, Dream Catcher, the High Wolds Poetry Festival and There Is No Planet B, Stafford Green Arts Festival Poetry Anthology, while also contributing to the Women of Words and Away with Words open mic events.
The Ekphrastic Review
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